With temperatures now hovering around 26 deg C, and our cars getting hotter and hotter, it’s time to convert the cheap but tasteless tomatoes into something that you would actually want to eat. It’s just a matter of slicing them quite thickly, shoving them on a baking tray and sprinkling liberally with Mediterranean herbs, black pepper and coarse sea salt. Then into the Nissan they go, ready to be metamorphosed within a few days into extremely tasty treats.
As we drive around, it’s amazing what we come across on the side of the road, or thrown away by unappreciative hands. I’ve done my best to prolong the life of this rusty, holey bucket into a (admittedly, rather inexpertly painted) receptacle for geraniums and sedums to brighten up a rare dark corner.
Mostly these quirky treasures find a home dotted around strategic places along our many walks. but the area we call the prow seems to have become a bit of a showcase for more than its fair share of oddments.
Things like this ancient piece of gate looking as though it has weathered many centuries of storms that has now become a signpost pointing to ‘the end’. A twisted vine branch in a glorious honey colour resembling a pair of antlers was immediately fixed to a wooden base and ‘planted’.
A lucky find was this 6ft shard of weathered wood with a perfectly round hole in the top. Squinting through it you can see the ruined farmhouse nestling in the valley opposite, or facing the other way, you can glimpse part of the prow and the cypress hedge beyond.
The vines have grown exponentially this year; we’ve got two each side of the house and one growing against the almacén wall – the sweetest tasting grape of them all. This year it crawled, triffid-like, all over the brown-painted flat roof that gets untenably hot. The solution came in the form of a pergola Joe constructed from leftover wood and the vine has obligingly wrapped itself around its new home and away from danger. In fact, it’s grown another couple of feet since I took this picture!
Walking towards the big wall and turning right just before the steps, you will come to the entrance to the oak grove. A misnomer really as it should probably be called a forest, being, as it is, crammed full of holly oaks (encinas) – far too numerous for us to ever count.
And as you walk down the sloping path you will come across yet another ‘art installation’ made from more of our treasured finds. A semi-circle of beautiful brown stones standing to attention as if to guard the entrance to the shady forest.
There are many places all through the forest where you can sit awhile to take in the magnificent panorama of the mountain range Sierras Tejeda y Almijara. Made mostly of wood, they will need to be replaced over time as they’re a prime target for all manner of wood boring insects. However, the curly-wurly seat (and all the other wonderful installations – stone seats, benches, bridges, walls, and monoliths) will remain on this land for a very long time to bear testament to what Joe and I have tried to achieve in this special place.
“Our land is more valuable than your money. It will last forever. It will not even perish by the flames of fire. As long as the sun shines and the waters flow, this land will be here to give life to men and animals.” Chief Crowfoot, Siksika (c.1825-1890)
BTW, the plunge pool with enclosing wall is nearing completion so I would imagine that will be a suitable subject for my next post. It was quite gratifying to find a use for the old, cracked depósito, one which could well make our time here even more enjoyable. It has been filled for over a week now and has shown no sign so far of any leak, probably thanks in no small way to Joe’s belt and braces construction ethos.